Most of you probably aren’t familiar with Janosch’s “Oh wie schön ist Panama”, which tells the story of the little tiger and little bear travelling to Panama. It’s message is putting “home” into perspective, making you realize that it is not always as bad as you might think. Moreover, it is famous for its line “If you have a friend… you don’t have to fear anything”. Anyway, if you have kids, they will surely like it. For all others, there is still Panamanian rum and todays exercise is to find out if we should stick to the country’s rums, or move on to reading the book. The latter surely won’t hurt but this is a rum blog after all so let’s focus on that first. I haven’t been doing it a lot lately (well, I usually don’t tell you when I do it) but here I felt I might be biased, so the tasting has once again been semi-blindly. I promise to keep on getting back to it more often!
Ultimatum Panama 2008 10YO (64,7%): Alright! Nose: Quite boozy but we’re talking 65% abv here. Behind that caramel, tobacco, matches & sulphur, brown sugar, hay and besides some apples basically no fruity notes. Exactly the side of Panama that I do not enjoy all that much. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but unfortunately it also isn’t very aromatic. Maybe the palate holds more for us. Taking a sip, I am now quite sure that it does not. What a pity. Still very alcoholic, not very flavourful and with no interesting notes whatsover. Sure, it isn’t bad, and there are other rums out there that try harder but are way, way worse but this combination of caramel, tobacco, lid matches, floury apples and wood just doesn’t do it for me. The finish is relatively short and doesn’t come with anything that is remotely worth writing about. Sorry guys. Bad batch, bad cask, too young, I don’t know. You know what, I don’t care. The price is excellent, it is just that for me it is not even worth that much. But hey, maybe for you it is. (62/100)
Cave Guildive Panama 2006 11YO (60%): It’s like a thinner and less aromatic version of the S.B.S (see below), even though it comes with more watts, as my francophone friends tend to say. Nose: A mix between the straightforward caramel, hay, tobacco and sugar and the fruitier notes of floury red apples, grapefruit and lemon. It’s solid and straightforward, but nothing I would ever remember. Palate: The alcohol isn’t particularly well-integrated and the rum is stronger than I am comfortable with. Some matches, liquid tar and caramel, red fruits, rich sugar/ syrup, straw, the floury apples and minimally mineral notes are my main impressions here. The finish is rather short and flattens out very quickly. What sticks with me is an uninspiring combination of wood, sugar and caramel. Well, probably from the same batch as the S.B.S but this is night and day, really. (73/100)
S.B.S Panama 2006 12YO (55%): Even though I put this last, this was the first one in my semi-blind tasting. It all starts with your typical “Spanish” column still profile (caramel, tobacco, matches) but then adds nuances such as walnuts, pomegranate, oak and the juice of canned cherries. Especially the latter is interesting here. At the palate we can find this again, softly laid on top of a rather fruity column still profile. The “typical” notes are not particularly strong and I mostly get (burnt) sugar, some leather, more of the cherries, pomegranate, red apples, oak, some ever so slightly minty notes and hints of vanilla. The finish is really nice and comes with a mix of apples, walnuts and the wood. A very nice way to round this one off. There really isn’t much to complain here. This is about as good as Panamanian rum gets. Too bad I’ve had this first! (82/100)
Let’s keep it short and have one of these rums, and read the book instead of having the other two. Have a nice day, folks!